Need Refresh myself on Antenna Design and Formulae

I am about to submit a short paper on antenna design and I need to learn a lot in a short time. I am ex Royal Signals, but the last time I did any formal education in this area was forty years ago. Can anyone direct me to a source that I can find, so I can very quickly, relearn the basics? I need to cover the frequency spectrum from about 100 MHz to 10 GHz :-(

Thanks, Mike

  • So wire and rod antennas, yagis, arrays, then moving up-band horns patches  and dishes.  Some pics here of VHF type things


    What level of technical underpinning do you need? - a book like Balanis  will teach you the maths of the lot but you will need a month to read it, and a lifetime to appreciate it.

    Who is the audience of this paper ?


  • Hi,

    Thanks for the response. I’ll read these, but if you can help on a consultancy basis that would be good. If you send me your email, I can tell you more.

    The background is summarised briefly as follows, my tiny company (me plus a couple engineers that help me from time to time) won a small (innovations based) communications project with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD). We delivered that between Oct 2021 and Feb 2022. It went exceptionally well and opened some doors for us.

    That original project might be continued, and I’ll more about that by about Jan 2023.

    But that project got us noticed by other people in the MoD, related to communications and in particular; mobile, radio communications.

    We are now putting together a small research proposal for a flexible antenna(s) that will be automatically reconfigurable, over a very wide frequency spectrum, say from 100 MHz, to 10 GHz, exact spectrum, yet to be agreed.

    There is not a formal tender with a detailed specification? Instead we have the ability to come up with innovative ideas.

    We will be competing with bright students/post-graduates from highly respected universities, and large established defence firms, and small firms like mine. But the MoD don’t automatically award contracts to the big defence firms. They have targets to award (for example) a percentage value of such contracts to small firms. So, as long as the proposal is well thought through and the people involved are experienced then we have a fighting chance.

    It will likely be a two year project, with regular monthly payments, based on achieving agreed project milestones.

    If you could please let me have your email address, I can share more? But in any case, I am very grateful for your help.


  • I shall have to be very careful, and remark in passing  that I currently work for one of those you might one day compete against, and I do not wish  to lose that employment ;-) so I  need to avoid a clash of professional interest. I can give you technical advice at the level of the sort of chat we might have had if we met in a pub. Actually for this one more likely as if we met at a radio rally but you get the idea. I can probably do an odd read and comment, but anything that looks too much like proper consultancy will have the wolves baying at my door. Its one of the reasons I do not use my real name on here - plenty of folk know it is me of course, but it is better not to tempt fate and make it too blatant.

    You will have done your background reading on the state of the art already. Therefore you are of course already aware of the limitations of the inflatable antennas, the steppIR the screwdriver antennas and other clever  tuning arrangements already ; as well as systems of  non resonant antennas and electronic matching units, and also the use of duplexers and antennas one inside the other. Then there are the  traveling wave conical dipoles, and related bicone discones etc, and then spiral and log periodic structures,  and so if I drop them into conversation I am telling  you nothing you did not already know.

    Ahem   ;-)

    A quick refresher of  the maths of the Hansen Chu limits on volume bandwidth and efficiency might be in order too to avoid claiming the impossible, winning the contract,  and then failing to deliver it.


  • Thanks, and all of what you have written is new to me, so I am in deep trouble. I have not committed to anything, so I am not embarrased, nor in trouble. But maybe there's an upside to me being so "ignorant", about this?

    I last worked in radios in the military in the late 1970's, early 1980's, and I have never touched them since. I have a general electronics/computing background.

    So, just maybe, me coming at this, with an empty canvas, but a general (but very old) understanding of antennas/radios, might just mean that I do come up with some weird and novel idea? Maybe the fact that I have "missed" all the developments in the past 40 years means that I come at this totally fresh?

    Or put another way, if I suggested anything that is logical, and normal, and even if it's advanced, I'd get totally beaten into a pulp by the other companies, who would be able to suggest a much better, and much more professionally put together proposal?

    So maybe me being a novice might let me think way, way outside the box?  But your suggestions are much appreciated. Thanks, Mike